The theme of your website has the capacity for beautiful, semantic markup...and also the hacky HTML soup. You can build a new theme by downloading a free theme and tearing out its guts--or you can learn how to become a theme surgeon.
In this session you will learn two key techniques needed to build a successful theme: crime scene investigation (identifying Drupal page elements in your design files) and power tools for copy-cat theming (things you need to replicate your design file in Drupal). From start to finish we will transform a design file into a Drupal theme. With special attention given to your all-important questions: how do I save time with grid-based design? Should I use Panels? How do I make this bit of stuff appear next to that bit? Yah, but how do I start?
Small business site builders that partner with graphic designers and have no idea how to make Drupal look like a design file. Intermediate themers who start with a free Drupal theme that looks "close" to the final site and then start hacking to make their theme. The audience currently does not use base themes and are frustrated at how complicated all of the code is. They are looking for shortcuts and some quick-fix solutions to make theming faster and more profitable.